By Todd Brommelkamp/KGYM Radio
MINNEAPOLIS – Iowa, you may have heard by now, used two freshmen corners to start a game for the first time in the Kirk Ferentz era.
What did Julius Brents and Riley Moss have to say about their performances in the Hawks’ 48-31 victory at TCF Bank Stadium?
Unfortunately you can read comments from Moss here but you won’t be able to hear them on KGYM. Iowa (4-1/1-1) doesn’t allow its freshmen players to talk to the media and hasn’t for the latter half of Ferentz’s tenure in Iowa City.
Iowa Sports Information Director (and FotS) Matt Weitzel was kind enough to disseminate a couple quotes from Moss, who started in place of an injured Michael Ojemudia on Saturday.
“Bad things are going to happen,” said Moss, who was targeted early and often by Minnesota. “I knew they were going to come my way.”
He finished the game with two interceptions and both he and Brents, who filled in for an ailing Matt Hankins, drew praise from Ferentz during his postgame remarks.
“They kept fighting and competing and I thought they played better as the game went on,” said Ferentz, who you will be able to hear from during local programming on Monday.
The victory Saturday by Iowa’s fourth in a row over the Gophers but it came at a cost.
Linebacker Amani Jones was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter for targeting. By rule he’ll have to miss the first half of next week’s game at Indiana. The Hawks are perilously thin at the position after Jack Hockaday suffered an injury Saturday. Ferentz said the junior will undergo an MRI tomorrow
“It’s not good,” he said.
Quarterback Nate Stanley threw for four touchdowns and 314 yards on 39 attempts. The latter two were season highs.
“They came out in different fronts we weren’t expecting them to (use),” Stanley said. “They loaded the box and (were) playing with their safeties down low really trying to take away the run.”
One of the major beneficiaries was Brandon Smith, who established new career marks in receptions and receiving yards with 5 and 68, respectively. He had five catches over the course of Iowa’s previous four games.
Noah Fant, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Nick Easley and T. J. Hockenson all hauled in touchdown passes, with Smith-Marsette’s 60-yarder in the first quarter serving as Iowa’s longest play from scrimmage this season.
Hockenson also had a rushing touchdown of four yards which came during a well-executed fake field goal attempt in the second quarter. Iowa lined up the majority of its personnel on the right side of the line for what looked liked a Miguel Recinos chip shot but long snapper Jackson Subbert bent down, grabbed the ball with his left hand and flipped it to Hockenson. Sam Brincks provided the perfect block as Hockenson swept around the right side of the line and into the end zone to give Iowa a 21-7 lead.
“It looked good in practice,” Ferentz said. “There’s a little risk/reward there.”
Defensive end Anthony Nelson registered three of Iowa’s five sacks on the afternoon, a season-high for the Hawkeyes.
“It’s an accumulation of everyone doing their jobs,” Nelson said.
Minnesota managed 320 yards on the day and didn’t go down without a fight. a 7-yard touchdown pass by Zack Annexstad to Rashod Bateman with 5 minutes and 35 seconds left in the game made the score 41-31 but the Gophers failed to recover an onside kick attempt.
Mekhi Sargent’s 2-yard touchdown run four minutes later helped salt away the first Big Ten victory of the season for the Hawkeyes.
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